Ensuring safety, compliance and operational continuity on every solar project is a top priority for Trina Solar. To this end, Trina Solar identified the need for rooftop solar installations in certain states to have module-level rapid shutdown capabilities.
In an effort to increase first responder safety and maintain compliance, Trina Solar now offers 1500V IEC-rated MC4 connectors for solar modules and optimizers used in commercial rooftop PV systems. The MC4 connector enables product compatibility with either 1000V or 1500V project requirements, greatly expanding Trina Solar’s flexibility in the C&I solar sector. Additionally, Trina Solar’s inverter partners also have rapid shutdown capabilities.
When properly installed, PV systems are extremely safe. Although risks are small, every precaution taken matters. In this case, the ability to rapidly shutdown solar modules helps reduce the risk of shock hazard for first responders. This is where the MC4 connector comes into play in case of an emergency.
MC4 connectors and NEC 2017 compliance
Solar manufacturers, EPCs and project developers work hard to avoid the possibility of an emergency by following electrical codes and putting in safeguards to protect against potential risks. One such code, NEC 2017, specifically section 690.12 Rapid Shutdown of PV Systems on Buildings, requires commercial and industrial rooftop solar installations to have the capacity for module-level rapid shutdown in case of emergency. The previous code, NEC 2014, only specified rapid shutdown capabilities at the solar array level.
Adopted in January 2019, NEC 2017 is now in effect in 33 states, but several more states are in the process of reviewing and adopting the updated electrical code.
For a module-level rapid shutdown to safely work, the C&I system’s PV panels, optimizers, microinverters and module-level power electronics (MLPEs) must all be able to effectively communicate with the inverters. MC4 connectors provide the means for component interoperability to successfully follow module-level rapid shutdown protocol.
What NEC 2017 means for solar contractors and developers
As more states adopt NEC 2017, it’s more important than ever to have access to solar optimizers and inverters with MC4 connectivity. The updated codes and varying degrees of implementation might lead to some confusion and last-minute scrambles to find compliant components.
Due to this, some solar contractors and developers might have lingering questions about what rapid shutdown devices are available, and which companies offer compliant and compatible products.
Trina Solar helps keep solar contractors ahead of the curve by identifying which states have adopted NEC 2017 and where MC4 connectors would work best in a PV project. Not only does this ensure compliance for commercial rooftop installations, but it also improves the safety of first responders.
For more information on MC4 connectors and rapid module shutdown, reach out to the experts at Trina Solar.
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